natural beauty: herbal foot soak.

August 14, 2019
herbal foot soak | reading my tea leaves

There are more noble pursuits than sloughing dead skin from your heels and ensuring that your chipping pedicure doesn’t see the light of day for one for one more minute, but I’m here to defend taking 20 minutes to give yourself an at-home pedicure, sans polish.

It’s still decidedly summer. Your feet have taken a beating. Especially if, like me, you walk miles in sandals that should probably be reserved for date-nights and dinner parties and other occasions that don’t require huffing it along concrete pavement for hours while holding a cranky toddler. The countdown to school starting up again might be a metronome tick-tocking in your brain with increasing intensity. The sense of dread that perhaps you haven’t indulged in enough summery delights might be clouding your memory making you forget all the summery fun you have had. You need to soak your tired feet and take a deep breath.

If an herbal foot soak in an enamel basin sounds old-fashioned and twee, that’s because it is. Embrace it. I first wrote about soaking my summertime feet six years ago and I have zero regrets about embracing the time-honored tradition of giving myself a rest for heaven’s sake.

Disconnect for minute. Read a chapter of an addictive book. If you don’t have an old-fashioned enamel basin, sit on the kitchen counter and use your sink. If you don’t have space for your bum on your kitchen counter, use a spaghetti pot. Or a casserole dish. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Play around with the herbs and quantities. I used thyme because it’s fragrant and refreshing, not to mention antifungal, peppermint because it’s uplifting and fresh, and rosemary because it’s just pleasantly antiseptic-smelling enough to make me feel like the whole mess is doing something. The Epsom salt is non-negotiable. The lemon peels are pleasantly astringent. The tablespoon of oil will leave you feeling silky and smooth and dare I say, pampered. If you want to use essential oils instead of fresh herbs, go for it.

herbal foot soak | reading my tea leaves


1/2 cup Epsom salt

1 tablespoon olive oil or sweet almond oil

4-5 sprigs of fresh or dried thyme

2 sprigs fresh mint

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Hot water

herbal foot soak | reading my tea leaves


+ Combine Epsom salt, oil, and herbs in a basin.

+ Fill the basin about 1/3 full with hot water and let the herbs steep until the water is cooled enough to be comfortable for your feet.

+ Soak your feet for 20-30 minutes.

+ After soaking, slough off dead skin with a pumice stone.

+ If your nails need extra moisture, rub in a bit of extra oil.

+ Dry off with a towel to keep from slipping around the floor, and with any luck, flop directly into bed.

herbal foot soak | reading my tea leaves

For the curious:

+ I found my vintage basin at a local shop years ago, but Etsy’s vintage sellers have enamel basins galore.

+ My pumice stone; though I also love the idea of a pumice stone on a rope.

+ My chair, in case you need a project.

+ My rug.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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  • Reply Jenna August 14, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Also highly recommended when you’re feeling less twee and have like 3 minutes—mix up some olive oil and sugar into a scrub, sit on your counter with your feet in the kitchen sink (nearly zero mess!) and scrub those hard-working feet. I do the kitchen because that’s where the oil & sugar are, but the bathtub or shower works as well if kitchen counter sitting doesn’t work for you. Bonus—your hands get soft too.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 14, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Always! See also: salt scrubs.

    • Reply Trish O August 14, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Love this idea!

  • Reply Janean August 14, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Enamel vessels can easily be found at Goodwills, too – typically for only 2 or 3 bucks! I have an unintentional collection… can’t seem to pass up their adorable color edge. I especially appreciate the hole for hanging. I wonder if anyone has done a gallery wall with them?! Too much?? HA! (Thanks for the reminder to soak!)

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 14, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      Totally! And yes! Have often considered hanging ours, but the bottom is pretty scratched up and we use it to keep the iron and hair dryer wrangled in the top of the closet anyway 😉

    • Reply Sam August 14, 2019 at 3:28 pm

      Well I know what I’m doing tonight!

  • Reply Trish O August 14, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Looks lovely. Will need to indulge soon. School started in IL today, so I am dreaming fall right now, but my toes know the truth.

  • Reply Manuela August 14, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    That’s why everyone here in Portugal has a bidet! :))))

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